Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma

Also known as: MEC, salivary gland cancer

What is mucoepidermoid carcinoma?

Mucoepidermoid carcinomas are a distinct type of tumor that are one of the most common causes of salivary gland cancer, though they can also impact other areas of the body. These areas include the lungs, breasts, ears and other glands.

What causes mucoepidermoid carcinoma?

Like most forms of cancer, mucoepidermoid carcinoma develops due to changes in a cell’s DNA. What specifically causes these changes to occur isn’t clear. Radiation exposure and smoking are potential risk factors.

What are the symptoms of mucoepidermoid carcinoma?

The symptoms of mucoepidermoid carcinoma vary based on what part of the body is impacted. In the salivary glands, they can lead to pain or swelling in the mouth, cheek or jaw, change in face shape, weakness and numbness on one side of the face, trouble swallowing and trouble opening your mouth widely.

How can mucoepidermoid carcinoma affect children?

Mucoepidermoid carcinomas are rare in children. When they do occur, they are most frequently seen in girls ages 10 to 16.

What are mucoepidermoid carcinoma treatments?

Surgical removal of the tumor and the surrounding tissue is the typical treatment for mucoepidermoid carcinoma. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted therapy may also be recommended in some instances.

Reviewed by: Maggie Fader, MD

This page was last updated on: November 03, 2023 12:27 PM